By most accounts, Emmy viewers lost track of the broadcast's lows somewhere after hitting bottom during Josh Groban's infamous TV Theme Lightning Round — a four-minute, 26-song medley comprising some of television history's most celebrated opening themes. It helped if they had lyrics; there was no Seinfeld , Hill Street Blues , Taxi or Night Court , for starters, but The X-Files was nevertheless featured prominently and notoriously, so who knows? And really, who cares? Despite valid complaints about set-list omissions from Family Ties to The Monkees , it's essential, as with any performance art, to judge Groban's number on its own terms. Even if those terms include Fresh Prince of Bel Air . We knew it at the time , attributing a "weirdly riveting" quality to Groban's performance as we liveblogged. Nearing the end of the day after, we're still pretty much alone in our estimation. But that doesn't mean we're wrong. Anything but, in fact.Let's face it: The failure of this year's Emmys was systemic, not individual. Even Don Rickles (!), arguably the funniest presenter of the evening, faced a down crowd still nursing its shellshock from the opening bit. On both sides of the proscenium, too few of the components required to make the show move had any impulse or incentive to do so. The Nokia was a tank of vulnerable, cynical sharks — most too gutless (e.g. all five hosts) to rock the institutional boat on its surface while too bloodthirsty (e.g. Jeremy Piven, Neil Patrick Harris) to swim away without reminding the Academy that it got away with its life. And the Academy, adrift, responded simply by rowing faster — in circles. On the night when good TV was the coin of the realm, bad TV was the gold standard. What are you going to do? That's not likely the kind of rhetorical question Josh Groban asked himself before he went onstage, but it's the one he answered throughout the number. What are you going to do, really, when the ineptitude of the Emmys is such that you can't possibly surmount its ingrained, enduring awfulness? And the producers are cutting set changes, acceptance speeches... everything but your performance? While the world around him — including the very concept of the number — melted down, Groban, for whatever reason, and for better or worse, went for it. And as far as we could tell, he pulled it off. Say what you will about his talent, his popularity, his banality, his backstory, whatever, but the guy isn't stupid. He knew the position he was in, he knew the job he had to do, and unlike the hosts, writers and producers who pumped (and tape-delayed!) three hours' worth of bullshit into America's beloved televisions, he did his job. And he pretty much meant it — every outlandish segue into a condescending gospel choir or Muppet guest appearance seemed to nudge his energy incrementally higher. It was genuinely stirring, as in: We might not have finished our liveblog without it. Moreover, take his riff on South Park —absurd to the extent it was sincere, momentarily elevating his medley to the level of performance art. It returned with the Animal/X-Files cameo and the COPS bit, and when he closed out with Carol Burnett and Cheers , he was among the two or three others onstage all night who could hold his head up opposite Rickles. Was he great? Probably not. Was he essential? Without a doubt. There's the philosophy that says the harder you try, the stupider you look, and we're not wholly averse to it. But it applies to Groban's Emmy haters, too. Lighten up a bit. If he could do it under the circumstances, God knows we can, too.